By: Sara Brandes | April 19, 2019

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Each week, we’ll explore a practice theme that arises in the weekly Torah portion. This week’s parasha “Tazria" is all about life, how its made and the magic and messiness of being sensual beings.

To make sense of this weeks parasha, we need to hold two things in mind. First, when the Torah says “ki tazria v’yalda zahar” it hopes that the first chapter of the Torah will immediately come to mind for us, “esev mazriah zera etz pri asah pri limehu,” as the women is “with seed” just as the earth too was with seed at the moment life burst forth in creation. Second, we have to remember that the parasha is unfolding with in the world of Sefer Vayikra (Leviticus) which claims t...

By: Sara Brandes | April 19, 2019

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If you’re plugged into Jewish consciousness, then this week house-cleaning is on your mind, as both the weekly Torah reading (Parashat Metzora) and the Jewish calendar take the messiness that can arise in our homes as their subject. Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14-15) offers us the mysterious dynamics of a form of leprosy that attacked the walls of the home, just when we are scrubbing kitchens to rid them of any last traces of glutenous crumbs before Passover. Both invite us to consider how our attention impacts our environment and how our environment can support or hinder our practice.

Hassidic Judaism turns the process of cleaning for Pesach inward, inv...